Divorce mediation involves the negotiation of child custody and support, division of assets, and alimony between both parties to the divorce and a neutral mediator. Mediation tends to be a less combative and more cooperative process, and may be court-ordered, chosen by the couple, or a natural progression from an early neutral evaluation.
Divorce mediation lawyers can advise both parties to the divorce of the best plan of action and negotiation scheme before beginning the process, and in turn, can benefit both spouses, often leading to a quicker settlement.
What Are the Advantages of Divorce Mediation?
The many advantages of divorce mediation may include:
- Mediation may be a good option if both parties want a divorce, but can’t come to an agreement on specific issues.
- Divorce mediation is less expensive. Both parties can pay one mediator, as opposed to going to court.
- Mediation is less stressful than litigation and tends to have a more positive effect on children.
Concerns about Divorce Mediation
Though divorce mediation tends to be much simpler than going to court, most people have questions on how it works, such as:
- Does mediation allow either spouse to dominate the other? A certified mediator is trained to pay attention to dominating behavior. If it occurs, but the mediator does nothing to correct the imbalance, he or she must be removed from the mediation process.
- Does either sex have an advantage in the mediation? Unless the mediation is court-ordered, no one is required to sign any agreement. If you feel bullied or slighted, you may bring it to the judge for a resolution.
- Is mediation more complicated than hiring a lawyer to just do a plain old divorce? Generally, no. Mediation is usually quite streamlined and simple, it tends to lack the restrictions and formalities of court, and can save you money.
- Does mediation take longer than divorce proceedings? Mediation usually always takes less time than typical divorce proceedings, even if you were able to settle out of court.
What is the Status of a Mediation Divorce Settlement?
If a mediation divorce settlement contract is drafted and signed, it can be legally binding and used as proof in court proceedings, if necessary. If the mediation does not reach a final agreement, it will remain non-binding, as the mediator cannot file divorce documents. Lawyers, however, can file the documents, and mediators tend to work alongside them as part of the mediation process.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?
Consulting a family law attorney who has experience in divorce mediation can be quite beneficial to your best interests. He or she can offer guidance on negotiations, assist you on developing a plan of action, and prepare final divorce paperwork after the mediation process comes to a conclusion.